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Blakeney: Anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated

Clubs and national sport governing bodies must stand ‘front and centre’ in the fight against the anti-social behaviour plaguing the Island, said Glenn Blakeney, the Sports Minister.

Gang elements are rife in certain cricket and football clubs on the Island with administrators and club officials alike reluctant to combat the growing problem.

Players with ties to undesirable elements of society continue to represent clubs on a regular basis and occasionally their country as well, and Mr Blakeney believes the time has come to take a stand.

“Everyone knows and sees what’s going on with players in the club, people that support the club, people around the clubs,” said the Minister. “It’s really going to take a mentality of being all honest brokers in our respective roles of responsibility from the athlete through to the executive members.

“Looking hard and square in the face of what we are dealing with, with the kind of manifested anti-social behaviours that are prevalent across the community and see what we, in our own small way, can do to address it, curtail and ultimately eliminate it.”

Other countries have rules to prevent people of dubious character from being associated with sport, or being in positions of power within any given sport.

Mr Blakeney believes there is a strong argument for introducing a ‘fit and proper person’ rule in Bermuda sport although points out that those types of people have largely turned their back on sport.

“There’s a big argument for having a fit and proper person rule,” he said, “but a lot of fit and proper people don’t want to deal with these kinds of issues and that’s why I say we need those honest brokers.

“To be on the outside, on the periphery and criticising and identifying all the problems that everybody knows is one thing. But to get into the mix…..It’s just like in politics, people will be out there criticising to no end, the Government, the opposition, across the political divide.

“But those same people won’t take the first step to become involved, to help make a difference based on what they think is the right thing to do, because they’re hypocrites.

“All the problems that we have are people problems they are caused by people and they are only going to be fixed by people.”

Mr Blakeney hopes the soon to be introduced random drug testing of both domestic and international athletes, which brings Bermuda in line with the World Anti Doping Authority, will weed out some of the trouble makers, or force them to change their ways.

“If it means that clubs or the country is going to suffer because the best players withdraw themselves because of their lifestyle, then so be it, that’s where we need to go,” he said.

“It’s the same with those that are deemed or perceived to be associated with any kind of gang activity. If there is any manifestation through their behaviour that they are part of this anti-social activity then the club should be front and centre saying ‘you can’t play’. Even if it means the governing body agreeing a policy (for) this kind of behaviour.”

The Minister also believes bodies such as the Bermuda Football Association and Bermuda Cricket Board should be far more pro-active in disciplining bad behaviour whether it occurs on, or off, the pitch.

Mr Blakeney wants governing bodies to make far more use of punishing transgressors who break the law as well as misbehave on the pitch. In the past 12 months both cricketers and footballers have been in trouble for drugs offences and yet continue to be able to play for their clubs in domestic competitions.

“They should be able to intervene under one rule, and that is the ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’ rule,” he said.

“The Government can’t be all things to all people. They (governing bodies) are grown ups, they’re structured, they have their elected bodies in executive positions to do what is in the best interest of the sport at all levels.

“It shouldn’t have to be if the clubs do what would be considered the appropriate thing, they (governing bodies) have to take some responsibility.

“It might come down to where you don’t have your best players playing every week, and that’s the sacrifice.”

Sports Ministre Glenn Blakeney

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Published August 30, 2011 at 10:51 am (Updated August 30, 2011 at 10:51 am)

Blakeney: Anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated

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